FROM DISTANCE SPEED TO
Short, hard runs build guts and grit. And they can be fun, too (really, we promise…)
WHY Working towards a speedy mile and/or 5K can lead to breakthroughs when you return to longer races, says Elmore. Short, hard training builds fast-twitch muscle, which your body can recruit for a more efficient, explosive stride when slow-twitch fibres fatigue. Plus, says Fraioli, in short races you can stop fretting about pacing yourself and focus more on reeling in the runners in front of you – a mindset shift that can help you finish any race stronger.
HOW Spend at least eight weeks doing some higher intensity speedwork while dropping total mileage by about 15 per cent. Elmore says each week should include hard 200-400m repeats at 5K pace or faster with equal rest; a three- to-five-mile tempo run and a long run of 60-plus minutes, with recovery runs or rest days in-between. Before hard workouts and races, do a 20-minute warm-up of jogging, dynamic exercises and strides.
STAY HEALTHY As your pace quickens, your knees will absorb more stress, especially if your quads, glutes and hamstrings are weak. To prepare to go fast, Moyer recommends a pre-run move that mimics running (left), plus a series of single-leg exercises to do at the gym (right).